6.9/10
3,741
42 user 18 critic

The Onion Field (1979)

Greg Powell is a disturbed ex-con who recruits Jimmy Smith (aka Jimmy Youngblood), a petty thief, as his partner in crime. Powell panics one night when the two of them are pulled over by a ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Det. Karl Francis Hettinger
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Gregory Ulas Powell
Franklyn Seales ...
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Det. Ian James Campbell
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Det. Sgt. Pierce R. Brooks
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Dist. Atty. Phil Halpin
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Jailhouse lawyer
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Helen Hettinger (as Diane Hull)
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Chrissie Campbell
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Greg's woman (as Beege Barkett)
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Beat Cop
Le Tari ...
Emmanuel McFadden
Richard Venture ...
Det. Glenn Bates
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Billy
Pat Corley ...
Jimmy's Lawyer #2
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Storyline

Greg Powell is a disturbed ex-con who recruits Jimmy Smith (aka Jimmy Youngblood), a petty thief, as his partner in crime. Powell panics one night when the two of them are pulled over by a pair of cops for broken brake-lights. Powell decides to kidnap the cops and Smith, as always, reluctantly goes along with Powell's crazy scheme. The group drives out to a deserted onion field in Bakersfield, California and one officer is shot while the other escapes. The remainder of the film explores the nature of the American justice system, as well as the devastating psychological effects of this event and the trial on the surviving officer. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

neo noir | trial | police | thief | robbery | See All (70) »

Taglines:

What Happened In The Onion Field Is True. But The Real Crime Is What Happened After. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 March 1980 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Anthropokynigi sto Los Angeles  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was financed by director Harold Becker, screenwriter Joseph Wambaugh, and many of Wambaugh's friends, which allowed them to have total creative control. See more »

Goofs

When Karl Hettinger is talking into the patrol car microphone, the microphone is turned around and he is actually talking into the back of it. See more »

Quotes

Dist. Atty. Phil Halpin: Campbell's forgotten. He may as well never have lived. Hettinger's a ghost. Only the legal process has meaning. I've got to get away. You know what I was thinking? I was thinking that if it were in my power, I'd release Powell and Smith, drop all the charges. Let 'em walk. If only I could send some lawyers and judges to the gas chamber.
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User Reviews

 
Great movie....
24 January 2003 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

Great true life movie of two L.A. police officers whose lives were changed forever in on onion field on the outskirts of Bakersfield, CA. As always, I will not set here and go over the entire movie. I will say that James Woods did an excellent job portraying Powell, and of course, Ted Danson was his usual best as officer Ian Campbell. This story grips you right from the minute that the two officers are taken hostage. I can only imagine the terror that Campbell and Hettinger went through on the ride from L.A. to Bakersfield. The scene in the onion field and what transpired after the murder of officer Campbell, with Hettinger fleeing the maniac Powell through the fields at night, is breath taking. It is just so sad that in reality, all this really happened, and a good man lost his life at the hands of a crazed-ass lunatic.


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